Racism in America Still Present Today

American Flag flying on Lake Ontario
American Flag flying on Lake Ontario | Source
Syracuse marker for "The Freedom Trail."
Syracuse marker for "The Freedom Trail." | Source


Racism has come out of the shadows to rear its ugly head once again.

THE CEMETERY

On northern Lake Ontario, there is a place called Pillar Point, New York. Standing on the shore you can look across to Sacket’s Harbor, which was a battleground on both land and water during the War of 1812, defending America against the British. Although there are many graveyards on Pillar Point, one, in particular, is filled with antiquated, wafer thin headstones. Etched in a grave marker is the following epitaph: “Reader behold as you pass by, as you are now so once was I. As I am now, so you will be. Prepare for death and follow me.” Sylvia Beaman had died on 10/01/1828 and lived for 20 years and 26 days. She was married to Alba Beaman. The message I read that day is haunting, to say the least. There is a cold honesty in these chiseled letters and they hang on me like the harsh reality of life and death.

CIVIL RIGHTS

“Prepare for death and follow me,” is certainly not a pleasant thought, yet it is something many of us do dwell on. Of course, I can only relate my own feelings, but for me, I strive to live a good life and one in which people are treated as equals and respected. I surely do not want to hurt anyone either physically or emotionally. So it is a natural path I travel regarding the inclusion of all on the equal playing field of life. In accordance with that philosophy, I strongly believe that Civil Rights are just that…a right! While a proponent of free speech, I also wonder whether or not there should be some restrictions on hate speech or words that incite violence against certain people. In exploring the history of this country, I am reminded of the 1776 Declaration of Independence, where it states, in part, “All men are created equal.” However, eighty-four years later and in spite of those noble words in the Declaration of Independence there were at least four million men, women and children living under slavery.

RACISM AND BIAS

Now fast forward another one hundred and fifty-two years after 1860 and we find that whatever the reasons, there was a period of complacency by many that have allowed an extremist faction to rear the ugliness of their indifference and hatred towards African-Americans, Muslims, Hispanics, Mexicans, Immigrants in general, and just about anyone else who isn’t a white Anglo-Saxon Protestant. The distorted face of racism and bias has resurfaced since the election of President Obama and it continues to grow. With its resurgence, I too have become angrier and angrier at the ignorance and hatred that is still present within the United States of America in 2015…200 years after the War of 1812.

SYRACUSE, NEW YORK AND THE JERRY RESCUE

I was born in the 1950s and spent most of my years in the Syracuse, New York area which was originally called Salt City due to all of the natural salt mines found along Onondaga Lake. Syracuse is also famous for the Underground Railroad, Harriet Tubman and the Jerry Rescue. Some readers may not be aware of the 1850 Fugitive Slave Act. Essentially law enforcement officials had the power to travel to northern states and apprehend former slaves who had sought freedom. If an official did not arrest a runaway slave, then they in turn could face monetary fines of $1,000.00. Additionally, any person found to have given food or shelter to a runaway slave could face imprisonment of 6 months and also a $1,000.00 fine. At the time, northern states were seeing as many as 1,500 former slaves a year escaping their southern owners and Syracuse became known as the “Great Central Depot” for the Underground Railroad.

THE FUGITIVE SLAVE ACT

Just one year after the Fugitive Slave Act Syracuse citizens were faced with a decision. Should the people stand with the law of the federal government or should they stand for the rights of a shackled man? Proudly, my hometown sided with the man known as William “Jerry” Henry. Hundreds stormed the jail with a battering ram and freed Mr. Henry from the marshal who was going to bring him back to the south. The event is now referred to as the “Jerry Rescue” and a statue has been erected in Syracuse’s Clinton Square commemorating this historic event. Prior to the jail break-in, Samuel Ward, an ex-slave told a crowd gathered in Clinton Square, "We have arrested him, confined him and chained him on purpose to inflict upon him the curses of slavery. They say he is a slave. What a term to apply to an American! How does this sound beneath the pole of liberty and the flag of freedom?”

MY EXPOSURE TO THE "OLD SOUTH"

“The pole of liberty and the flag of freedom” causes a cauldron of boiling emotions within me. I bore witness to the Civil Rights movement and experienced first hand racism as a child. I watched in horror as police dogs were released to attack protestors under the guidance of Governor George Wallace in Alabama. I remember when farmers had their fields segregated with blacks picking on one side and whites picking on the other. As a child I was horrified when a security guard in a Sears & Roebuck store in Georgia, grabbed me by my collar, raised me into the air and yelled, "Are you stupid boy?" I was being reprimanded for drinking out of a “Coloreds Only” drinking fountain. In my young years, I had always thought the water was water. During this same visit, my great aunt who was most definitely the stereotypical white southern woman scolded me severely for talking to her “colored help.” You see, I had pulled a kitchen chair up to the sink to watch in amazement how this woman plucked a freshly killed chicken in preparation for dinner. My God, I had never witnessed anything like this. The words that were slung at me stung my boyish innocence like a lash across my soul. I didn’t understand it then and I certainly don’t understand it now. However, in a perverse way, those dark experiences have shown a light on my heart, mind and way of thinking, knowing exactly how wrong, loathsome and disgusting racism was and is.

PRESIDENT OBAMA

First President Obama wasn’t a citizen. Then he wasn’t a Christian, then his enemies tried to highlight his middle name and almost immediately the undercurrent of racism began to drown a nation in hatred. Our President has been disrespected during a State of the Union address. Some people have Mr. Obama drawn as a caricature of an animal. Judges, politicians, media pundits and citizens have my president in doctored pictures wearing a turban, with a Hitler mustache and on it goes in a never ending attempt to diminish and demean the man and the office he holds. During the National Republican Convention, actor Clint Eastwood spoke to an empty chair which was meant to signify President Obama. It didn't take long after the convention for some to start lynching chairs from trees. Now we have been presented with the most disgusting and outrageous bumper sticker directed toward President Obama with the message, “2012 Don’t Re-nig!” Lo and behold the maker of this message claims it is not racist at all. Just as interesting is the fact this marketer of hate comes from Hinesville, Georgia the same place where my great-aunt tried to school me on the ways to treat “colored people” over fifty years ago.

COWARDS, CROSS BURNINGS AND WHITE SHEETS

Although there may not be as many cross burnings or cowards hiding under white sheets as there once was, the hidden loathsomeness of racism and bias are still present and meant to repress a certain segment of society. We need to stop the backward slide we are on and again move forward in our thinking and acceptance of all people. Hail to the Chief!

Written By: Dennis L. Page

The shores of Lake Ontario at Pillar Point, New York
The shores of Lake Ontario at Pillar Point, New York | Source
The Soldiers and Sailors monument in Clinton Square, Syracuse, New York
The Soldiers and Sailors monument in Clinton Square, Syracuse, New York | Source
A markerclinton square, syracuse, new york -
Clinton Square, 2 S Clinton Sq, Syracuse, NY 13202, USA
[get directions]

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Comments 49 comments

Janbird profile image

Janbird 4 years ago from Northern England

Excellent post, pagesvoice. I learned a lot - I hadn't known the story of the Jerry Rescue which is testament to the courage of the townspeople to stand up to what they felt was a grave injustice. Modern day Syracuse can be very proud of that.

I'm in the UK and we take what I think is a pragmatic approach to freedom of speech, in that it's balanced against legislation which allows people to be prosecuted for inciting racial hatred if an act is "threatening, abusive or insulting" and it's intended, or likely to, stir up racial hatred. It's a tough balance to strike, but there's a line no one (and especially no one in a country that purports to lead the world in democracy and freedom) should cross in the guise of free speech. Those who produce and display the "Re-Nig" bumper stickers have well and truly crossed it. Many people seem to be clinging to the illusion (or is it a delusion?) that it simply means "renege", despite it being spelled differently, having an unnecessary hyphen and being sold alongside stickers which show the President's face as a monkey and talking about "a village in Kenya is missing its idiot". If it meant "renege" why not just spell it the way it's meant to be spelled? The intention is clear. It is, as you say, to demean the man and his office and it's a sad and sorry state of affairs, in 21st Century America, that this kind of thing gets openly sold on websites and openly displayed on people's cars.


pagesvoice profile image

pagesvoice 4 years ago from New York/Pennsylvania border Author

Thank you Jan for taking time out of your day to read and comment on my article. I am finding that the older I get the more disappointed I am with the lack of progress we are making toward equality for all. I guess for some people they simply love to hate those who don't look and act like them. It is disturbing the outward hatred some have for the President and the racial slurs and comments are hurtful to me as a Caucasian and citizen of the U.S. who grew up watching the struggles for equality in my country. I can see and hear my departed mother waving her index finger at those folks now, shaking her head saying, "Tsk, tsk."


Janbird profile image

Janbird 4 years ago from Northern England

I detect - and it may be my imagination because I'm observing American society from a distance and through the prism of many wonderful American friends - that things are getting worse, not better in many ways. In amongst the good stuff - the repeal of "Don't Ask Don't Tell" and the increasing commitment to gay marriage - I detect a great deal of fear and a kind of "retrenching", a yearning for some mythical "good old days" when men were men and women and minorities knew their place. It's not pretty and it's certainly not indicative of what Rick Santorum called a few days ago "The greatest country in the history of the world". In many ways, your President is leading the way - we're just beginning a consultation on gay marriage here in the UK. It's sad to me that so many see that as a threat.


pagesvoice profile image

pagesvoice 4 years ago from New York/Pennsylvania border Author

You are most observant Jan. There is a rather large faction here that is powerful in terms of money and political pull that wrap themselves in their rigid views of things regarding God, country, marriage, segregation, birth control, abortion, guns, immigration and anything else they deem offensive to their belief system. Unfortunately these same people are dragging us down and not up. I firmly think President Obama has the right idea when it comes to using tack and diplomacy, but we live in a hair trigger society and that is not an asset in my book.


ImKarn23 profile image

ImKarn23 4 years ago

You couldn't understand it, Dennis, because even then you had a defined sense of justice and chose to believe in your principles instead of the propoganda! Having gotten that out of the way - let me just say: WOW! You impress me more with each passing word! Your sense of faith play and equality should be bottled and given away free to all - so all could be as rich in heart and spirit! Most humans seem to have this need to control someone - anyone else - and it's been proven that the oppressed can become worse than their oppressors if given the opportunity! And the hatred beat goes on until we burn ourselves out - which - i say is happening as we write about it! Take a look at what's happening in france these days - it's an excellent harbinger of what's to come - as Sylvia Beaman would say...

Awesome and voting so!


Richard Brown 4 years ago

This is very eloquent, Dennis - I had no idea about Syracuse's history with the Underground Railroad - but I have a slightly different take. Chris Rock has described this - and I wish I were as confident about this as he is - as not a resurgence of racism but rather a last gasp - he compared it to a child who acts up right before bedtime, but I'd compare it to an injured animal that's been cornered, which is when it is most dangerous.

I also think another factor in the seeming resurgence is the Internet and social media, since a lot of these offenses take place on Facebook, Twitter and email. It's easier to attack someone from a distance, and anonymously, and it's easier to spread your vile thoughts nationally in an instant. As you know, the loudest voices get the most attention. I still have a sense that most people are getting more tolerant, but today the bigots have a lot more opportunity to spread their hatred.


Xenonlit profile image

Xenonlit 4 years ago

This is powerful writing and I am going to share it widely today. You have a clarity of understanding about racism and that shines right through. We will step up on the racists. We are become exhausted with them.


Janbird profile image

Janbird 4 years ago from Northern England

I think Richard has nailed it - the internet and social media is key. So many people can be anonymous (or they think they are - someone was arrested very quickly over the weekend in the UK after posting racist comments on Twitter about a young footballer, who's currently seriously ill in hospital). There's also a very skewed impression that "freedom of speech" allows you to say what you want, when you want, where you want, regardless of the hatred it demonstrates. It doesn't.


Andrea Shannon 4 years ago

First off, let me say kudos to you for a well-written and brilliantly written article.

Now, to the heart of the matter. You are dead on with your views of racism in America; we have, unfortunately come full circle. From the blatant racism of slavery and the cowards in white sheets, we moved to covert and institutionalized racism through the "good ol' boy" network. Now, we are back to blatant racisn and cowards behind a computer screen. I agree that the anonymity of the internet has a lot to do with that. Somewhere, someone sits in their home seething over the advancements that minorities have made in education, jobs, politics, etc. They are lamenting the fact that minorities, despite the odds being stacked against them, have managed to better themselves, blaming it all on civil rights and reverse discrimination. The see the white man as a dying breed and are determined to put minorities and women back in their place.

It is indeed a sad commentary on our nation as a whole. Thank you for writing this; I hope it is viewed by the ones who need to see it most.


always exploring profile image

always exploring 4 years ago from Southern Illinois

This is without a doubt the most powerful article written about past and present racism. I remember well when black people were treated as second class citizens. It still goes on today but in a more supple way. Many say that they are not racist, they just hate President Obama. Thank God for the younger generation, they see clearly and they will act. Thank you..I was unaware of the Jerry Rescue history. The thought of putting a man in chains because he was trying to escape to freedom from a white christian plantation owner make me furious. Thank God we have more northen states who will vote to put The President back in office to finish his work and if we're lucky the congress and senate will go democratic, therefore untying his hands so he can bring this country back..Thank you again..


taw2012 profile image

taw2012 4 years ago from India

This is a very good article about the problem that still prevails. This topic is to be discussed and a ultimately we have to come up with a solution. You have understood the problem well. Good.


picklesandrufus profile image

picklesandrufus 4 years ago from Virginia Beach, Va

BRAVO!!! SO well written and so true. Racism has reared it's ugly head in America once more with the inauguration of President Obama. I have seen and heard speech that makes my skin crawl. He has continued to ignore the hate speech, racist remarks,lies and white man fear that exists today. I don't always agree with him, but admire his class, strength of character and unwillingness to stoop to the small minded ways of those who hate him for the color of his skin. Great hub!


pagesvoice profile image

pagesvoice 4 years ago from New York/Pennsylvania border Author

Thanks Ms. L. You are so right regarding the direction we are heading. As you point out, the backward slide isn't just here in America, but it is happening worldwide. Ignorance, zealots with a personal agenda and in general a lack of a moral compass are driving the forces of evil.


pagesvoice profile image

pagesvoice 4 years ago from New York/Pennsylvania border Author

Thank you Richard for reading and responding to my article. Yes, Syracuse does have a wonderful history and one I am most proud of. I love your comment about Chris Rock and the last gasp of racists and their biases. Perhaps he is on to something. Still, we have a senseless killing of a 17 year old, most likely because of his skin color and his article of clothing. I also agree with you regarding the shield of anonymity granted those who hide behind a computer screen. It is easy to act tough when you are not actually face to face with the person you are attacking.


pagesvoice profile image

pagesvoice 4 years ago from New York/Pennsylvania border Author

Thank you Xenonlit for reading this troubling expose' on racism. You may have hit on something regarding the majority tiring of the racism that is going on. All we need do is look at the outrage from the masses over the death of young Trayvon Martin to realize the majority of people will not stand for such blatant and flagrant attacks on certain people because of their skin color or because they wear a hoodie.


pagesvoice profile image

pagesvoice 4 years ago from New York/Pennsylvania border Author

You are correct Jan in reference to freedom of speech. However, we paint with a broad brush what people can say under the guise of free speech.


pagesvoice profile image

pagesvoice 4 years ago from New York/Pennsylvania border Author

Thank you for reading this article Andrea and for your in depth response. The face of racism has been hidden from view for quite a while, but it appears to be gaining ground and as others have pointed out, a lot has to do with PCs and some acting out on the internet bullying pulpit. Rather than hiding under a white sheet, now the ignorant cover themselves in the secrecy of their computers.


pagesvoice profile image

pagesvoice 4 years ago from New York/Pennsylvania border Author

I appreciate your feedback after reading my article. Although the Jerry Rescue was successful in freeing this ex slave, many of them still had to flee to Canada after the break in. Nevertheless, the act was monumental for its time. I too echo your sentiments about northern states voting President Obama in to serve a second term. We are in the midst of a war on minorities, the poor, the middle class, the teachers, higher education, contraception, abortion, women's rights, civil rights, personal freedoms and gays. I most likely won't live long enough to see these biases go away completely, but hopefully my grandchildren will.


pagesvoice profile image

pagesvoice 4 years ago from New York/Pennsylvania border Author

Thank you for reading and replying taw2012. I think you are correct about discussing the problem of racism. Perhaps we became complacent with race in this country. Now it is time to openly talk about what drives the wedge of hate between races. We need to grow up as a nation that accepts all of its people.


pagesvoice profile image

pagesvoice 4 years ago from New York/Pennsylvania border Author

Thank you picklesandrufus for reading and leaving your comment on my article. You are correct about President Obama walking tall and holding his head high above the crowd of malcontents. He refuses to stoop to the level of his attackers and for that he has proven the character and nature of a good man and a great president. In October 2010 my mom passed away in a nursing home in North Carolina. Being from New York, I asked the African American head nurse what she thought of the funeral home I had picked for my mother's services. Immediately the nurse told me I didn't want to go there because it was a black funeral home. I stood there stunned and told her we would never even think to make that kind of comment in New York. She half smiled and looked me in the eyes and said, "Here in the south racism has never gone away...instead it has always remained just beneath the surface." Her words ring so true today and for some time to come. As I mentioned above, I hope my grandchildren live long enough to see the scourge of hate and bias gone for good.


Jessica 4 years ago

Wow, Dennis, that was a great post. Voted up. I grew up in Rochester, NY, not too far from Syracuse. I did not realize it was a Central Depot for the Underground railroad, and had not heard the story of Jerry's Rescue. I love learning new things, so thank you for enlightening me. I agree, it is disheartening to still witness the disparages ever-present in our society today. We can only continue to hope for change. And every individual who feels the way you and I do, can only bring us one step closer. Again, thanks for sharing!


pagesvoice profile image

pagesvoice 4 years ago from New York/Pennsylvania border Author

Thank you Jessica for your reply. Syracuse and Auburn were major players in the Underground Railroad and were catalysts for freeing many former slaves. I thought we were making progress with equality, but that seemed to be thrown out the window with the election of President Obama and the division and lines of black versus white are present once again.


Ginger Ruffles 4 years ago

Great read. Grew up an hour south of there and had no idea about any of that. Thank you for such a beautiful & informative hub.


pagesvoice profile image

pagesvoice 4 years ago from New York/Pennsylvania border Author

The Syracuse area was my home until 1991 when I relocated to this area as the benefit administrator for a local company.We were in Syracuse yesterday for the "Taste of Syracuse" festival and I took some pictures of the soldiers monument and the Freedom Trail poster. There is a lot of significant history in this area...and positive history...not regressive. I like to say that here in the north we fly just one flag...the American Flag!


picadilly profile image

picadilly 4 years ago from Schaumburg, IL

I love as this assemblage of words that speak your heart's thoughts.

I believe in inconditional love for all and see no color when I looked into someone's eyes. I see their heart and all that it holds.

It is so unfortunate in todays's day the lessons that keep circulating for future generations to see, disrespect, hidden acts of racism,and down right meanness to our fellow brothers and sisters. We were all born of God, we are all the same in that respect..parts of God!

Thank you for sharing yourself in this piece..truly beautiful! xoxo me


pagesvoice profile image

pagesvoice 4 years ago from New York/Pennsylvania border Author

Thank you Ms. P for your kind words. I despise inequality at all levels. When people claim they are not racist I ask them a simple question: Would you want to be a black man? Jaws drop as the wheels in the brain start turning and just reflecting on that question. Inevitably, the majority of whites say they would rather be white. Hmm, I wonder why?


pagesvoice profile image

pagesvoice 4 years ago from New York/Pennsylvania border Author

There have been several articles lately on racism and acts of bigotry, that I went back to this article and updated it with more photos and dialogue.


realtalk247 profile image

realtalk247 4 years ago

Great post. Thought provoking. It's interesting to read your perspective from your experiences.


pagesvoice profile image

pagesvoice 4 years ago from New York/Pennsylvania border Author

@realtalk24 - It was a pleasant surprise to have you drop by and leave your footprint on my article. Having witnessed first hand the nastiness and degradation of racial intolerance at an early age, it made me realize how cruel and dehumanizing such horrible actions are.


vveasey profile image

vveasey 4 years ago from Detroit,MI

pagesvoice

Good reflection hub on times past.

You say "When people claim they are not racist I ask them a simple question: Would you want to be a black man?"

Another question is would you want your daughter to marry a black man? Or your son to marry a black woman?

Much of the racial hatred and animosity heaped on black men during their enslavement, during reconstruction, jim crow and civil rights eras, was because racist white men were outraged if a white woman preferred a black man to them or found them sexually attractive.

Which many of them did.

To save face because their egos were so offended, they created the myth that black men were ravenous beast whose sole desire was to deflower the flower of the white race...white women. who had to be protect at all cost from these black savages.

This was the was the central theme of early film "The Birth Of A Nation" which glorified the Klan as heroic knights protecting their precious white women from these ravenous black beasts

That's why so much violence, hostility and hatred was heaped on any black man or white woman who dared cross that line.

It's also had to do with the myth that Africans and anyone with any African "blood" (DNA) was cursed by god with blackness and was, tainted and inferior. Many whites brainwashed from childhood to believe they were pure and superior, didn't want to taint their gene pool by mixing with these inferior subhuman animal-like beings.

For an interesting take on the subject read my hub "Are Blacks The Cursed Descendants of Ham?" at this link http://hubpages.com/politics/Are-Blacks-The-Cursed...


pagesvoice profile image

pagesvoice 4 years ago from New York/Pennsylvania border Author

@ v veasy - Please accept my sincere apologies for not acknowledging you comment sooner. I just happened to notice my oversight today. You raise some valid points in commenting. Yet, it was always an accepted practice for the white slave owners to rape the slave women and children, or have the children lay across a bed to keep the feet warm of the slave owners. The real barbarians were those who felt they had the right to own other people and degrade them at every turn of their lives. Still, even in today's world, there is a faction that wishes to suppress voter rights and will vote for anyone as president as long as it isn't a black man. Oh yes...racism is still present and it continues to make me sick.


susansisk profile image

susansisk 4 years ago from Georgia, USA

This is a beautifully written hub. You are so right in what you say. People seem to be polarizing themselves. When I walked into my local Democratic Party office, and volunteered to help, they seemed very surprised. In the south, everyone who looks like me is across the street at the Republican office.


Temi Benjamin profile image

Temi Benjamin 4 years ago from Europe.

I enjoyed this hub, not because it's on a topic that disturbs me every single day but because it is by a non-colored person. I wish they would all just imbibe your mentality.


Credence2 profile image

Credence2 3 years ago from Florida (Space Coast)

Goodness, Gracious, Dennis, you have been busy.

I want to recommend an pretty good PBS program called "The Abolitionists", when you mentioned the 1850 Fugitive Slave Act, this currently running series came to mind. It was part of the compromise to Southerners in the face of California's admittance to the Union as a free state tipping the balance toward Free-soil.

When I went to Europe to visit almost 35 years ago, I was careful to analyze the difference in attitudes toward different races and ethnicities. While each of the nations of the continent had their respective bogeymen, a dislike of one group or the other was not all encompassing and represented a passing grievance. Here, racism is woven into the very fabric of society itself, both north and south. We still have lots of work to do and a long way to go.

Great article, thanks again


xstatic profile image

xstatic 3 years ago from Eugene, Oregon

So sad that racism perists as it does in this country. We elected President Obama twice, but there is a vocal minority (I hope a minority)that oppose everything he has put forth and sought to limit him to one term, unsuccessfully.

In the 1950s, in the little Texas town where I spent my summers with my dad, people of color had to sit in the balcony at the local movie house, could not go into a cafe and have a meal, had to order at the back door and take it with them. We have progressed but need to go farther along the road to equality.


pagesvoice profile image

pagesvoice 3 years ago from New York/Pennsylvania border Author

@ Susansisk - I am extremely thankful that you read and commented on my article. Going into your local political office was, no doubt, a gutsy move on your part and perhaps a wake up call for those across the street. Sadly, some refuse to let go of their past biases and I'm reminded that, "The more things change, the more they remain the same."


pagesvoice profile image

pagesvoice 3 years ago from New York/Pennsylvania border Author

@ Temi Benjamin - Thank you for reading and leaving your reply. For some strange reason it seems as though there is a segment within the United States that refuses to accept people who don't look like them, simply because of skin color. I don't understand it now and I didn't understand it when I was a child.


pagesvoice profile image

pagesvoice 3 years ago from New York/Pennsylvania border Author

@ Credence2 - Thank you for taking time out of your schedule to leave a wonderful comment on my story.

I did watch the PBS series you mentioned. Aah, man's inhumanity to man still seems to hang over many as a dark cloud of hatred and distrust. Long ago I realized that animals walk on two legs and not four.

Yes, there is much more work for us to do and I shall continue my fight until my last breath.


pagesvoice profile image

pagesvoice 3 years ago from New York/Pennsylvania border Author

@ xstatic - It was so nice to see a comrade in words and thoughts drop in and leave your footprint on my article.

The disdain and loathsome outbursts shown to President Obama is appalling.

I agree with you about some progress being made regarding race relations, but isn't it sad we even have to put forth the conversation in the first place?

You too have witnessed the darker side of segregation. What I find upsetting is how some of our youngsters aren't even aware that segregation occurred.


LauraD093 profile image

LauraD093 3 years ago from Pittsburgh PA

What an excellent hub. I am glad I came across your question today as it has introduced me to yet another reading source here within the hub community. The video insert you provided on Songs from Slavery was extremely impacting.


MarieAlana1 profile image

MarieAlana1 3 years ago from Ohio

Great hub! I just hate the way that people treat other people. I felt a little uncomfortable with the chair stunt as well. I'm getting ready to do a project on bias. Thank you for this hub!


Gcrhoads64 profile image

Gcrhoads64 3 years ago from North Dakota

I moved from NC 6 months ago. Racism is alive and well. I lived in a coastal community, and both blacks and whites talked about the "downeast" bridge no black person should go over after sundown. Very sad.

Thank you for your wonderful hub.


pagesvoice profile image

pagesvoice 3 years ago from New York/Pennsylvania border Author

@ LauraDo93 - Thank you so much for dropping in and leaving your reply. The video was an afterthought, but once I stumbled across it I just knew it would fit in perfectly. Even today we are filled with so much injustice towards others who may not look, pray, or act like what the "norm" feels is "normal." To me, I believe normal equates to acceptance and tolerance, but it is a struggle to get others on board with that kind of thinking.


pagesvoice profile image

pagesvoice 3 years ago from New York/Pennsylvania border Author

@ MarieAlana1 - I appreciate you popping in and leaving your mark on this hub. I hope you too will be doing a hub on the subject of biases because it is such an important issue. Thanks again and I look forward to following you.


pagesvoice profile image

pagesvoice 3 years ago from New York/Pennsylvania border Author

@Gcrhoads64 - I am so pleased our paths have crossed and that you found my article of interest. I had an African American nurse in Mt. Olive, NC say to me, "Racism down here is always just beneath the surface." She made the comment after my mom had passed away in a nursing home and I was looking for a funeral home. I was merely going through the phone book and mentioned one to her. When I told the nurse she replied, "Oh you don't want to go there. That's a Black funeral home." I started to give a nervous chuckle as I replied, "That is something that would never even be thought of in the north." Also, in a Methodist church in Goldsboro, NC during a Bible Study group one person from the north asked a member what he would do if a black man walked in the front door of their church. Without batting an eye the old tobacco farmer replied, "I would walk out the back door!" So, where are their Christian values?


Tusitala Tom profile image

Tusitala Tom 2 months ago from Sydney, Australia

We're exposed to Racist-type beliefs at that early and vulnerable age by own own parents casual conversation, and generally tend to accept it without question. It often takes a lot to change it.

In my case, being born in Great Britain in 1936 when Britain was regarded as possibly the nation which 'ruled the world' (even though she was broke after WW1) we assumed that everything about us was superior. It wasn't of course, but the belief kept our spirits up.

However, there was little specific bias and racism in my own environment. We were at war with Germany but nobody really voiced their hate against them; it was more making fun of them. We'd win, of course. That was the attitude.

On the other hand the poor old Italians were regarded as being weak (It didn't occur to us they their hearts weren't in fighting for their own dictator, Mussolini. And they were happy, easy-going guys. We knew, because their prisoners-of-war worked almost without supervision on our road and in our fields.

There was far more negativity when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor. This wasn't 'cricket.' A dastardly, 'against the rules,' attack. Yes, the Japanese did bring some degree of race hatred. This was because of the way OUR prisoners-of-war were treated.

As far as the Negro population of America went, I think that the lyrics of that simple but very moving song 'Old Man River,' brought it home to me even as a child how badly the Americans treated their blacks. But because a black man was rare in England, even as late as 1951, when I left that country, I think I can say that it was not until my Navy Years in Australia, that the hypocrisy of certain Americans came home to me.

This occurred when, after radio contact with three unknown people aboard a US warship - all of whom did exactly the same work (radio operators using Morse Code) were asked by a friend and me to join us ashore. We'd show them Sydney Town; give them a good time. We invited three - one showed up. Asked why, the man who showed up said words to the effect:

"I'm white, buddy. Those two other guys, ones black and the other ones an Indian!"

So there you have it. Three men on one ship doing identical work; shipmates who wouldn't go ashore together for a beer because they were of different race.

That was in 1958. I can only hope things in the US Navy have improved since them.


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pagesvoice 2 months ago from New York/Pennsylvania border Author

Thank you for sharing your perspective and some history with me. On a positive note, our military is fully integrated now and all members are treated equally. When Obama was elected president many with latent racist views and biases surfaced and made their true feelings known again. Racial equality remains a constant struggle in this country and one I thought was behind us. I am so fortunate to have grown up in a house where I was taught acceptance and that all people are equals.


Tusitala Tom profile image

Tusitala Tom 2 months ago from Sydney, Australia

Despite the pessimism, Pagesvoice, I really do think the world is becoming more tolerant. It's slow, but the changes are there. And thanks for getting back so promptly.


pagesvoice profile image

pagesvoice 2 months ago from New York/Pennsylvania border Author

Yes, change is slow. I won't see true equality happen in my lifetime, but hopefully, it will occur in my grandchildren's lifetime.

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